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Monday, February 9, 2004

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©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

Prediction. Saturday, we discussed predicting the future, the inherent dangers of prediction based on faulty theories, and the use of prediction to maintain some form of security. We asked the question do laws exist to which man is bound regarding the future, or can humankind change the outcome? In essence, is the future open or is the future pre-determined based on laws that humankind can never escape? We think the future is open.

We include a quote from Popper demonstrating that the idea of a closed system bound by inexorable laws, that cannot be escaped, has evolved to extreme levels against the idea of an open universe:

[...] They assert that it is the task of science in general to make predictions, or rather, to improve upon our everyday predictions, and to put them upon a more secure basis; and that it is, in particular, the task of the social sciences to furnish us with long-term historical prophecies. They also believe that they have discovered laws of history which enable them to prophesy the course of historical events. [Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies , Vol I, p. 3]

Of course, it is not only some of the sciences that use the idea of prediction to improve the feel or sense of security. We do it all the time in our personal lives, often unaware that we are reacting based on faulty predictive models. Here is an example of thinking that the future is pre-determined using a predictive theory. We present the entire article because we think it will be instructive for our readers outside of the United States to get a sense of the ideas of American religious fundamentalists and of how large a movement it represents.

Rise Of The Righteous Army

Feb. 8, 2004

Evangelical Christians form one of the most potent forces in American politics and society. They are people who place their faith, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, above everything else in their lives and hope to spread that Gospel to the world.

An estimated 70 million Americans call themselves evangelicals, and their beliefs have already reshaped American politics. In the last election, 40 percent of the votes for George W. Bush came from their ranks, and now those beliefs are beginning to reshape the culture as well -- thanks to a group of best-selling novels known as the “Left Behind” series.

If you want to understand the people behind this political and cultural shift, the place to begin is in church. Correspondent Morley Safer reports.

“I don't think the media has really caught on to what's been going on in the last 30 years or so in America. An enormous number of people have come to faith in Christ and consider themselves evangelical Christians. And these are people that are buying, reading and distributing our books,” says Rev. Tim LaHaye.

LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins have written a series of runaway bestsellers known as the “Left Behind” novels. All together, there are 40 million books in print, and another 17 million in spin-offs. Plus, “The Kids” series, audio books and comic books are worth $100 million in annual revenue.

The books give a graphic version of the New Testament prophesy of the end of the world, happening in our time, in which only the righteous are saved. It’s a triumphant tale -- unmistakably Christian, undeniably American.

“I think if you cut us, Jerry and I would bleed red, white and blue,” says LaHaye. “We believe that God has raised up America to be a tool in these last days, to get the Gospel to the innermost parts of the earth.”

The “Left Behind” sagas begin with a mysterious event: one third of the passengers on a transatlantic flight suddenly disappear, leaving only their clothes behind.

What has happened? It’s an event that evangelicals call the Rapture, where every true-believing Christian, and every child under the age of 12, vanishes in an instant to a better place. All others will face the Tribulation.

“It could happen at any moment. It could happen, as we like to say, during this interview. Like that. Bang,” says Thomas Ice, who might be called a professor emeritus of the Rapture. He runs the Pre-Tribulation Research Center out of his garage in a Dallas suburb. It’s a one-man think-tank funded by LaHaye and dedicated to preparation for the last days on earth.

“There is a lot of debate over where … artificial body parts, and contact lenses, and clothes would be “Left Behind” or not. But the body would definitely be taken,” adds Ice.

That's what happens to believers. But the rest of humanity is condemned to suffering.

“That's what the Bible teaches. There are gonna be many Southern Baptists, for example, or many Presbyterians, or many Catholics, or people who are a part of Christendom,” says Ice. “But if they haven't personally trusted Jesus Christ as their savior, even if they … a lifelong member of a church, you know, then they will be damned.” At the Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Rev. Todd Wagner tells his flock that the books may be fiction, but they are based on hard facts. Non-believers are doomed.

Safer asked Wagner who would be “Left Behind”: “What would be my fate?”

“Folks like yourself that are gonna be here, are gonna go through all the events that Christ outlined in Mark:13 and Matthew:24 -- some of which are quite horrific,” says Wagner. “It would be the time of trouble like we’ve never seen before.”

For evangelicals, the Rapture and what follows are factual history, history of the future, prophecy.

“It’s not a minority view, it's not a group of folks that are niched somewhere over there. It's a very mainstream view,” says Wagner.

It’s such a concrete reality that the publishers of the “Left Behind” books can even market a videotape for those who don't make the celestial cut.

People who believe in the Rapture believe the Bible -- word for literal word.

“The Bible says what it means, and means what it says,” says Don McWhinney, an oil executive from Dallas.

60 Minutes discussed the “Left Behind” books with him and three other evangelicals. And for these readers, the characters in these novels are quite real.

“Will they just take the body and leave the clothes? Watches, and rings, and fillings? Will the whole body be taken? I don't know,” says McWhinney. “But all I know is that God is in control of it. And I have to accept that and believe it. Or I begin to reject it, then it begins to work on my faith in the wrong direction … It would lead to doubt. Doubt is not even an option.”

All four evangelical Christians, however, agree that they feel confident that they won’t be “Left Behind”. But do evangelicals think they will live to see the Rapture?

“My thinking is I sure hope so. I think it'd be really cool,” says Ice.

Rev. Peter Gomes, a Baptist theologian at Harvard University, is one of this country's preeminent Christian thinkers. He says that the chief source for such belief is a highly controversial book of the Bible: Revelation.

“One of the things we know about this book is that it is written in a period of intense persecution of the church. And so the theme that runs through it is what happens to the faithful if they stand up for their faith,” says Gomes. “Terrible things will happen to them in the short term. But in the long run, they will triumph, and those who persecute them will be destroyed.”

Gomes believes that this provides some kind of solace and encouragement to believers in today’s society: "The events of September 11 gave an even greater urgency to believers, and some non-believers."

“I think 9/11 was a wake-up call to America. Suddenly, our false sense of security was shaken. And we're vulnerable. And that fear can lead many people to Christ,” says LaHaye, who takes that message around the country. ”When Jesus shouts from heaven, there are going to be millions of people taken to heaven, and there will be millions of people who are “Left Behind”.”

“I realize that our message is inherently offensive and divisive, especially in this new age of tolerance. Especially since 9/11,” says Jenkins. “I understand how that sounds. But I'm telling you this ‘cause I really do believe it.”

And Gomes says that belief goes well beyond the pews of churches and the aisles of bookstores. He says that it's both a political and cultural movement.

“Evangelicals have been on the cultural defensive. But they have waited in the wilderness. And now in the fullness of time, they have come into possession of what they felt was once rightfully theirs,” says Gomes.

“And so, with the White House, and Tom DeLay, and in the House of Representatives, the attorney general … talk radio, the conservative Fox News, all that sort of thing, these are parts of the righteous army that has finally come into its own.”

Gary Bauer, who once competed with George Bush for the Republican presidential nomination, now runs a Washington organization that lobbies for evangelical Christian issues. He remembers being at the Iowa Republican Presidential debate, when all candidates were asked which political philosopher they most identified with.

President Bush said: “Christ, because he changed my heart. When you accept Christ as a savior, it changes your heart. It changes your life.”

How is Mr. Bush different from Jimmy Carter, who is a born-again Christian?

“When Jimmy Carter began to support abortion or other things, then that became a jarring inconsistency for many of these voters,” says Bauer. “With the president, what he says he believes as a matter of faith also seems to be reflected in many of the policies in his plan to distribute social services through religious institutions.”

Other examples include his rejection on gay marriage, his stand on stem cell research – views that fit perfectly into the agenda of the most powerful bloc in the Republican party.

“I'm not accusing my Democratic friends of being ungodly. But I'm just saying statistically, people that attend church frequently, at least once a week or more -- two thirds of them vote Republican,” says Bauer. “Those voters that say they seldom if ever attend religious services, two thirds of them vote Democratic.” For evangelicals, the war in Iraq is seen not merely as a war against terror.

Last year, Lt. Gen. William Boykin, a deputy undersecretary of defense, and an evangelical, made headlines when he publicly described the war on terror as a religious mission. Of one Muslim warlord, he said, "My God is bigger than his. My God is a real God."

A lot of people are uncomfortable with the Bush administration, and its cozy relationship with church and state. But Bauer disagrees.

“I don't see it. I don't know why they're uncomfortable. Nobody in America is being told how to worship,” says Bauer.

But in a country that is home to millions of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Christians who believe otherwise, such exclusivity can take on the appearance of extremism, especially when you add politics and patriotism to the gospels.

“The trouble with evangelicalism of a certain stripe in America is that it's been so long from power that it is seduced by power. And once it gets it, it is very hard to distinguish secular power from spiritual power,” says Gomes.

These are heady times for evangelicals: an election year, with one of their own in the White House, the final book in the “Left Behind” series to be published in March, and, of course, always the chance, even hope, of that greatest of events, the Rapture.

“Not everybody who thinks they know what's going to happen knows,” says Gomes. “So, I'm willing to take my chances, not with the evangelicals, but with the Lord. I'm going to place my hands in his.”

Notice the comment about doubt: It is not even an option. This is one of the fundamental traits of this way of viewing the world. There can be no doubt. Doubt and uncertainty must be hidden through the erecting of an illusion, through giving in to delusion - the delusion that we can know it all.

We, on the contrary, think that we must embrace doubt and uncertainty. We must learn to live with this as the cornerstone of our existence.

But this does not obviate the need for watching the environment, for planning, for coming to terms with the future. So the question arises, is there the possibility of looking to the future in a way that conforms with an open approach, where doubt and uncertainty are accepted and dealt with?

We think there is.

A deterministic future is a set future. However, if the future is open and our actions can have an affect in shaping it, then we are dealing with a complex space of multiple possible futures that depend upon our actions as well as the actions of others. Furthermore, we cannot see the future; we can only see the past and the present. Most people, we think, are not looking at the present; they are seeing only the past, and a limited past at that. Perhaps this narrowing of perspective is done to reduce complexity, making the world easier to "manage".

Introducing multiple variables makes the situation more complex and more difficult to ponder:

The S factor explains Bush's popularity


01/05/04: (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) Millions of words have been written as to the motivations of voters. Particularly in close elections, as in the 2000 presidential contest, pundits and laypeople alike have speculated on why people voted for whom. The exit poll has been a major tool in this speculation.

But the speculation misses the mark by far. It's increasingly obvious, for example, that none of the so-called theories can explain President Bush's popularity, such as it is.

[...] What, then, can account for so many people being so supportive of the president?

The answer, I'm afraid, is the factor that dare not speak its name. It's the factor that no one talks about. The pollsters don't ask it, the media don't report it, the voters don't discuss it.

I, however, will blare out its name so that at last people can address the issue and perhaps adopt strategies to overcome it.

It's the "Stupid factor," the S factor: Some people -- sometimes through no fault of their own -- are just not very bright.

It's not merely that some people are insufficiently intelligent to grasp the nuances of foreign policy, of constitutional law, of macroeconomics or of the variegated interplay of humans and the environment. These aren't the people I'm referring to. The people I'm referring to cannot understand the phenomenon of cause and effect. They're perplexed by issues comprising more than two sides. They don't have the wherewithal to expand the sources of their information. And above all -- far above all -- they don't think.

The example of people who cannot think suggests that there exists a public for simple answers, answers of no more than two variables. This is the Bush "Vision thing": there is America, the Good, against the Others who are Bad. A simple solution for simple "thinkers". Cause and effect are easily grasped: they hate us because we are free. You can't get much simpler than that.

So far we have been dealing with the abstract. Lets take an example that is more concrete and currently impacts every one of us - the situation in Israel and the occupied territories. The simple view of only two variables: Israel good, Palestine bad. US good, Arabs bad. The reality is every day in the news, even mainstream news, there are numerous variables entered into the equation that are not taken into account for our personal understanding. Thus, the actions of the US to support Israel's genocide of the Palestinians, their open announcement of their intention to redraw the map of the Middle East in order to secure American oil supplies, or to remove that supply from their competitors, is never understood. There are just too many variables for most people.

By building a box around our thoughts, we reduce the complexity of our world, leaving us vulnerable to propaganda and spin. Politicians and their spin doctors are very aware of the desire for simplicity and use it to their advantage, by promoting the latest crisis. We saw this when the war drums against Iraq started beating and drowned out news about the Enron scandal, about Cheney's "Energy Commission." This is further "enhanced" by looking only at the immediate past, that is, at the events and facts on the nightly news: yesterday and that part of today that has already taken place. Events from several days, weeks, months, or years ago are quickly forgotten, leaving many people without any long-term social memory.

To be able to see the world, one must have information on two axes: the vertical axis of what is happening now, and the horizontal axis of time, or what has already happened. Developing our perceptive skills in the present aids in developing our skills for the past. As the "now" becomes the past, we will have more information, having seen the now in greater detail.

Secondly, when we read history, we have more information with which to understand the past, permitting us to see past events that make sense only because we can see the result of their effects later in time. Events in the past become meaningful to us because we can see their relationship to later events. If we did not know about the later events, we would miss the earlier ones, would not be able to pick them out from the wealth of detail.

The next step is to be able to separate what is important from what is less important. What do we focus on? In current events, it is a question of: Is the inquiry into Janet Jackson's exposed breast more important to us than the inquiry into the non-existence of weapons of mass destruction? Going one step further, can we see that the inquiry into WMDs in being set up up to whitewash Bush and to avoid asking the real questions? We already have two levels of deception: Janet for those who are most easily deceived, and the inquiry for those for whom it takes a bit more. This will cover everyone who has only a short-term memory for current events.

Those who have a medium-term memory know that Bush lied, they know he consciously lied to justify the war, and will not be fooled. But they may still be missing the point because they do not have the necessary long-term memory to put the events of the early 21st century into the context of longer historical cycles. There are many parallels between what is happening in the US today and what occurred in Germany in the 1930s. Some are able to go back and see these parallels. They have a deeper understanding of what is happening now. But even this understanding must be put into another context to be understood in a deeper sense, the larger scope of human history. What are the very long term cycles in which we live our lives? Cycles that affect us not only individuals, but humanity as a whole?

Here we encounter another distinction: between those who see the world as developing in a linear fashion, with a definite starting and ending point in time; and those who see this development in terms of cycles, in terms of repeating loops.

As individuals we can reflect upon our lives and see that we tend to repeat ourselves until we learn to break the cycle. This may be in relationships with our families, with our spouses, or with people at work. But to have the means to evaluate this possibility, one must have data in hand from a long way back. With the data, one then has the possibility of seeing something new. There is a change in our awareness. This change in awareness then gives us the possibility of acting in ways we have never acted before, it gives us the ability of bringing something new to our environment, of being genuinely creative. Perhaps this applies to man as a species as well.

We think that as humans, we have the potential to inject something genuinely new into our environment. Determinists will say that we are deluding ourselves, that what we think is new and creative is in fact determined. However, no deterministic theory has ever proved itself able to accurately predict future events.

One must keep in mind, however, that no matter how much we think we know about the world, we never know everything. There are always events and forces at work that are out of our range of awareness. Therefore, we cannot be certain that our understanding is enough. This imposes upon us the need to work without certainty. We need to learn to see the world in terms of probabilities.

It is not only our inability to know completely the past or the present that imposes this approach; it is also the potential for completely new factors to emerge. There is an anecdote that illustrates this: It seems that at the beginning of the 20th century, there was a problem of what to do with the enormous amounts of waste from the animals that lived in cities, the horses that pulled the carriages for example. This was, apparently, a serious problem with no foreseen solution. The solution was the horseless carriage, the car, something new that could not be foreseen in the existing context of the problem of animal waste.

So these two factors, the limits to our knowledge and the potential for something new, suggest that we need to view the world in terms of probabilities, that is, keeping in mind, first, that there may be multiple potential explanations for what is occurring at the moment, and second, that there are a number of possible futures open to us.

At best, we can give these explanations or futures higher or lower weights depending upon the data in hand. This also implies that we must also be aware that none of the explanations or futures may be correct; we may be completely wrong, or something entirely new may be added later that we could not foresee. This means we must always remain open, recognizing that we may need to change our basic ideas about the world when we come across new data. To close ourselves to this possibility is to close ourselves to the future and to close ourselves to the potential of creating something new ourselves. Being buffeted by a world we do not understand, even if it is only our own ignorance that is not understood, we are put in a situation where we will have the tendency to react to outside events, clutching at straws to keep from drowning. We will be unable to act, that is, make a conscious intervention based upon our knowledge and understanding.

Reaction is mechanical, it is a form of automatism. It is not creative.

It is only when we act that we touch the divine spark of creation that resides within us.

The below is a long article by John Kaminski. Kaminski is essentially promoting objective observation of our past to understand our present situation. It is well worth the read.

Spiritual gangsters

Which is more important: somebody's name or the eternal truth?

By John Kaminski
February 8 2004

It's not the creed that's important, it's the integrity.

It's not the name that we give to the thing we worship, it's recognizing the essence of that thing as the highest truth, the thing worth being worshipped, so that the name we put on it doesn't really matter, as long as we recognize the thing for what it is.

We're too caught up in names, in identity, in rituals, and holiness. Piety makes me sick. Rituals bore me. What we're looking for is truth, and that can come in many guises, be from many places, and certainly have an infinite number of different names.

Do you understand what I'm saying?

Let me make it clearer.

Those spiritual gangsters who were run out of Egypt all those years ago have led us in the wrong direction. And they've been abetted by holy men of all persuasions who have betrayed those who have sought sanctuary in them, solace from them. The maintenance of their own churchly business has become more important to them then the souls they're supposed to be putting at ease, to be trying to save. It's a problem with every church, synagogue and mosque that ever existed. Some of them lose their souls over it.

Spiritual gangsters, that's the right name for them. They saw the people's need. And they took advantage of it. We have to have that home to go to, that place of rest. If we don't have it, we can't function. Sure, you can call it repression of fear of death. But it's the human condition. We can't deal with it without some help. Otherwise, we'll get sick, or worse, weird. And maybe that's what happened to them. It's the story of the first holy man, and every single one since.

People need to have things explained. Why am I here? What is it all for? And most importantly, where am I going? If it's not explained, and then tucked safely away in your brain like some kind of paid fuel bill, you're going to worry. And worry keeps you from seeing, from being able to do all those other wonderful that makes life the joy it can be.

But problems arise when you get two different versions of the truth. It's the same truth. But it's two businessmen, each describing it differently, each trying to survive, each trying to make a profit (no, that's too harsh, at this level) .... each trying to make his creed survive to serve the people it was intended to serve. And eventually going to war over their two different versions of the same story. Really sick. It's the story of the stupid human race.

Here in this Westernized world we live in, we all derive our spiritual heritage from the same bunch of Old Testament hooligans who were thrown out of Egypt for nasty, usurious practices that many of them still exhibit today. Then they were kicked out of Babylon and set up shop near the Dead Sea.

Put any kind of name on them you want: thugs with yarmulkes or perverts with crosses, or perhaps worst of all, smug businessmen with clerical collars telling you they can save your soul when they're really thinking about building theme parks in South Carolina. They've bet their eternal souls on their bank accounts, and made people believe that the name was more important than the thing that the name was trying to describe.

And that's how we lost our way.

Which leads us to the present day.

These same certain thugs are acting like any holy men trying to set up an advantage for themselves in order to gain more money to pile in their particular houses of worship. And because they're so subtle, so intelligent, and so rich, they've managed to create laws in a lot of places that forbid people from talking about certain events of history.

Without going into this particularly freighted event, let's just examine what it means to prohibit people from talking about certain events. I think they call it, in some European countries, "profaning the memory of the dead," and they're putting plenty of people in jail for just bringing the subject up.

You'd think, in this supposedly enlightened day and age, that people were intelligent enough and open-minded enough to talk about anything, discuss it rationally, and then come to some sort of consensus about what was the objective truth. But no. It hasn't turned out that way.

The guys with the yarmulkes say you can't talk about it, what we say is true, it may not be challenged, and we'll put you in jail if you continue this conversation.

Well, you have to take it seriously, because there are people in jail because of it. Just look at old Ernst Zundel, kidnapped out of his house in Tennessee and now having spent a year in solitary confinement in Canada without any formal charges, just because he feels the need to point out that those gas chambers you can see on the Auschwitz tour weren't really there in that particular form during World War II. They've been reconstructed, and some people quibble about the reconstruction. But there's a law that you can't talk about, and he's in jail.

It's a classic example of the maxim: it's not the creed, it's the integrity. In this case, integrity is the big loser. Not to mention Freedom of Speech. It's definitely a religious issue. But it has nothing to do with God. Only the version (or perversion) of what one group of supposedly holy men wants to cram down the throats of everybody else.

Now, remember that we have to be careful about who we're criticizing, because all too often we'll discover we're only criticizing ourselves. Such is the case with all this palaver about Jews. Sure, the behavior of Israelis — calling their neighbors vermin and trying to exterminate them as such — brings a lot of needless heat down upon themselves, as do their traditions of usurious banking, constantly claiming they're discriminated against while they're the richest ethnic group on the planet, and also their open sexuality (to put it politely). This last talent causes problems but also makes a lot of money from those who don't like talking about sex in public but sure do in private.

Considering from where the Jewish tradition derives, the very people who criticize it most better take a lot harder look at where their own traditions come from, and realize that the very basis of Christianity and Islam derive from ideas and rules Jews invented. In fact, if you want to get a little paranoid about it, you could wonder if the Jews didn't invent those two spiritual paths in order to gain a little privacy for themselves. Or some other advantage, like yoking people with moral restraints while keeping their own rules more flexible in order to gain a couple of extra points on the rate, if you know what I mean.

Lately I was privileged to receive an interesting post from Rumor Mill News titled "Shock: Secret Identity Of Israel's Yahweh Revealed!" I had this feeling I was reading "Weekly World News" in the 7th century B.C.

The point the story tried to make was that if Israel tried to claim some kind of divine right to that land it stole from the Palestinians, it better take a harder look at its own actual history, and realize the basis for this claim rests on extremely shaky ground.

Recently, in speech to visiting Christian Zionists, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon asserted, "This land is ours... God gave us the title deeds..." However, recent scholarly research, including discoveries by an archaeological team from the University of Tel Aviv, not only deconstruct the Biblical Old Testament and Torah stories upon which this claim rests, but grant previously unthinkable credence to an ancient historian's claim that the Israelites of Exodus were actually the Hyksos, and therefore of Asiatic origin.

So wrote a cryptic fellow who goes by the name of M-theory. Briefly told, he wrote that the Israelites were never in Egypt and that the Jewish god YHWH had a girlfriend, the goddess Asherah. (Is there a law against saying this?)

He cited evidence that indicates Solomon and David are absent from the archeological record. Holy screaming Pentateuch! Does this mean they didn't exist? Well, the same thing could be said about Jesus. You can't find him in the empirical history books, either.

As far as the modern day Israelis being descended from the Mongol hordes from Asia, well, we already knew that, from Arthur Koestler's famous book "The Thirteenth Tribe" which revealed that most of the present-day inhabitants of Israel are really expatriate Russians, and not Semites (which means there's nothing to be anti- about). Crooks are crooks regardless of their DNA.

Other nuggets from Mr. M-Theory include:

"Asherah, (whose name means "she who walks in the sea") supposedly consort of the supreme god El, was also referred to as Elath (the goddess). According to the Ugarit tradition, whose clay tablets contain the earliest known alphabet, she was consort of El, and mother of seventy gods. She is also associated with Baal and is supposed to have interceded to her husband, the supreme god, on Baal's behalf, for the building of a palace in order to grant him equal status with other gods. In the cuniform tablets of Ras Shamrah (Circa 1400 BCE) the head of the Pantheon was El; his wife was Asherat-of-the-sea (Asherah). After El, the greatest god was Baal, son of El and Asherah. Curiously, Baal's consort is his mother, Asherah. In the Lebanon traditions Baal is equated with Jupiter."

Yeeowww! This means that Yahweh, whom Jewish scholars now say redacts back to Baal, had sex with his mother! Holy screaming Sophocles! There must be a law against saying that! Maybe there will be soon.

"According to biblical scholars who focus on the "P Source" for the old testament," M-Theory writes, "Yahweh as a name is first used with Moses in Exodus, and is indicative of monolatory (exclusive worship of one of many Gods) rather than monotheism. The name Yahweh can also be translated as "I am who I am", literally a way of saying "mind your own business", a way of disguising his true identity. Yahweh does not appear until Exodus and, strangely, the god Baal is entirely absent in Genesis."

And, the mysterious author adds, in a perfect consistency with the vicious tone of the Old Testament, "This Yahweh is prone to violence and seems to despise his chosen people."

Lest I give away M-Theory's entire game, let me just quote one other segment of his fascinating exploration of pre-Christian mythology.

"The Hebrews living in Canaan were therefore under Egyptian rule. It is also here in Canaan that we can make a comparison between Yahweh and the Canaanite Moloch (Baal) and extrapolate a polemic inversion of the story of Pharaoh ordering the death of all the "first born" in Exodus.

"The worshippers of Moloch sacrificed their first born children to their deity through immolation. Worshippers of Yahweh in Canaan were also known to carry out child sacrifice on occasion, especially in times of hardship, although immolation (holocaust) was supposedly frowned upon. Slitting the child's throat, however, was acceptable."

This information dovetails perfectly with what I've been reading lately in my Talmudic studies on Carol Valentine's eye-opening website Come and Hear (a must-read compendium if there ever was one) where the preferred method of execution for innumerable offenses by the goyim (surely you know who they are — they're us, dummy) is decapitation.

So the danger becomes: if Christians and Muslims try to impugn the Jewish faith and declare their god is some minor mountain deity from the hinterlands of Ugarit, they're only going to bring themselves down with it. Because the whole legend of Jesus, which was constructed of equally spurious and unrigorous chicanery, is cobbled together with the same inconsistency, carelessness and manipulation.

Religion is essentially crowd control, devised by Constantian-type governments to keep the people from rising up against their leaders. It had to be a very rich person who said "the meek shall inherit the earth."

Anyway, the whole piece — " Shock: Secret Identity Of Israel's Yahweh Revealed!" — is well worth reading for its astonishing Old Testament gossip.

All this folderol goes to show the wisdom on the ancient proscription of trying to give that ineffable and majestic spirit that animates the universe any kind of name whatsoever. You're only asking for trouble if you do, thanks to priests (and ministers and rabbis and whatever kind of guruistic occupational title you want to apply) who value the profitability of the tale they wish to tell higher than the needs of those who need to be reassured that their future is something more than the ignominious dust they will one day surely become.

If you want to go looking for the essence of the spirit that animates everything, don't go searching through ossified parchments in rancid temples. Find the spark you need to mobilize yourself in the diamond's eye in the rain, or in the teardrop of your lonely child.

And don't let the spiritual gangsters tell you otherwise.

Claim vs. Fact

By David Sirota, Christy Harvey and Judd Legum, The Progress Report
February 8, 2004

"President Bush wouldn't have agreed to an hour long network interview without a good reason and today he had one: in the span of a week he's faced the dual challenges of a loss of credibility on the war in Iraq and his management of the economy.

"His statement this morning that he would cut the deficit in half is simply laughable. Analyses by independent organizations like Goldman Sachs, the Concord Coalition, the Committee for Economic Development, and Decision Economics all project deficits of about $5 trillion over the next decade, even assuming a return to strong growth.

"The President's statement that there is 'good momentum' on the job creation front is dishonest: while we are averaging 72,000 new private sector jobs created per month, at that pace, it would not be until May 2007 that this President would have created his first net job. President Bush is well on his way to having the worst job creation record since the Great Depression. His bragging today only served to reinforce his lack of credibility on managing the nation's economy.

"And what the President referred to as a "word contest" regarding the threat from Iraq is, in fact, his attempt to change the rationale for going to war and rewrite the history of what has occurred. His argument today that Iraq had the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction and pass them into the hands of shadowy terrorist networks is inconsistent with the intelligence provided to him.

"President Bush sought to restore his credibility today and he clearly failed to do so."

Pre-War Intelligence

CLAIM: "I expected to find the weapons [because] I based my decision on the best intelligence possible...The evidence I had was the best possible evidence that he had a weapon."

FACT: WHITE HOUSE REPEATEDLY WARNED BY INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY. The Washington Post reported this weekend, "President Bush and his top advisers ignored many of the caveats and qualifiers included in the classified report on Saddam Hussein's weapons." Specifically, the President made unequivocal statements that Iraq "has got chemical weapons" two months after the DIA concluded that there was "no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons." He said, "Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production" three months after the White House received an intelligence report that clearly indicated Department of Energy experts concluded the tubes were not intended to produce uranium enrichment centrifuges. He said, "Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa," three months after "the CIA sent two memos to the White House in October voicing strong doubts about" the claim.

CLAIM: "We looked at the intelligence."

FACT: WHITE HOUSE IGNORED INTELLIGENCE WARNINGS. Knight Ridder reported that CIA officers "said President Bush ignored warnings" that his WMD case was weak. And Greg Thielmann, the Bush State Department's top intelligence official, "said suspicions were presented as fact, and contrary arguments ignored." Knight Ridder later reported, "Senior diplomatic, intelligence and military officials have charged that Bush and his top aides made assertions about Iraq's banned weapons programs and alleged links to al-Qaeda that weren't supported by credible intelligence, and that they ignored intelligence that didn't support their policies."

CLAIM: "The international community thought he had weapons."

FACT: INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TOLD WHITE HOUSE THE OPPOSITE. The IAEA and U.N. both repeatedly told the Administration it had no evidence that Iraq possessed WMD. On 2/15/03, the IAEA said that, "We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities in Iraq." On 3/7/03 IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei said nuclear experts have found "no indication" that Iraq has tried to import high-strength aluminum tubes for centrifuge enrichment of uranium. At the same time, AP reported that "U.N. weapons inspectors have not found any 'smoking guns' in Iraq during their search for weapons WMD." AP also reported, "U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said his teams have not uncovered any WMD."

CLAIM: "I went to Congress with the same intelligence. Congress saw the same intelligence I had, and they looked at exactly what I looked at."

FACT: CONGRESS WAS OUTRAGED AT PRESENTATION BY THE WHITE HOUSE. The New Republic reported, "Senators were outraged to find that intelligence info given to them omitted the qualifications and countervailing evidence that had characterized the classified version and played up the claims that strengthened the administration's case for war." According to Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA), many House members were only convinced to support the war after the Administration "showed them a photograph of a small, unmanned airplane spraying a liquid in what appeared to be a test for delivering chemical and biological agents," despite the U.S. Air Force telling the Administration it "sharply disputed the notion that Iraq's UAVs were being designed as attack weapons."

Pre-War Assertions

CLAIM: "I believe it is essential that when we see a threat, we deal with those threats before they become imminent. It's too late if they become imminent."

FACT: ADMINISTRATION REPEATEDLY CLAIMED IRAQ WAS AN "IMMINENT THREAT." The Bush Administration repeatedly claimed that Iraq was an imminent threat before the war – not that it would "become imminent." Specifically, White House communications director Dan Bartlett was asked on CNN: "Is [Saddam Hussein] an imminent threat to US interests, either in that part of the world or to Americans right here at home?" Bartlett replied, "Well, of course he is." Similarly, when White House spokesman Ari Fleischer was asked whether America went to war in Iraq because of an imminent threat, he replied, "Absolutely." And White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the reason NATO allies – including the U.S. – should support the defense of one of its members from Iraq was because "this is about an imminent threat." Additionally, the Administration used "immediate," "urgent" and "mortal" to describe the Iraq threat to the United States.

CLAIM: "I think, if I might remind you that in my language I called it a grave and gathering threat, but I don't want to get into word contests."

FACT: BUSH MADE FAR MORE DIRE STATEMENTS BEFORE THE WAR. While the President did call Iraq a "grave and gathering" threat, that was not all he said. On 11/23/02, he said Iraq posed a "unique and urgent threat." On 1/3/03 he said "Iraq is a threat to any American." On 10/28/02 he said Iraq was "a real and dangerous threat" to America. On 10/2/02 he said, "The Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency" and that Iraq posed "a grave threat" to America.

CLAIM: "Iraq had the capacity to make a weapon and then let that weapon fall into the hands of a shadowy terrorist network."

FACT: ASSERTION BELIES PREVIOUS INTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENT. This assertion belies the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate which told the White House that Iraq would most likely only coordinate with Al Qaeda if the U.S. invaded Iraq. As the NYT reported, "[A] CIA assessment said last October: 'Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks' in the United States." The CIA added that Saddam might order attacks with WMD as 'his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him.'" Previously, the CIA had told the White House that Iraq "has not provided chemical or biological weapons to Al Qaeda or related terrorist groups." And David Kay himself said, " I found no real connection between WMD and terrorists" in Iraq.

CLAIM: "And when David Kay goes in and says we haven't found stockpiles yet, and there's theories as to where the weapons went. They could have been destroyed during the war. Saddam and his henchmen could have destroyed them as we entered into Iraq. They could be hidden. They could have been transported to another country, and we'll find out."

FACT: KAY ACTUALLY SAID WMD HAD BEEN DESTROYED AFTER 1991. David Kay didn't say we haven't found the stockpiles of chemical weapons because they are destroyed, hidden or transported to another country. Kay said that they were never produced and hadn't been produced since 1991. As he said, "Multiple sources with varied access and reliability have told ISG that Iraq did not have a large, ongoing, centrally controlled CW program after 1991. Information found to date suggests that Iraq's large-scale capability to develop, produce and fill new CW munitions was reduced – if not entirely destroyed – during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Fox, 13 years of U.N. sanctions and U.N. inspections."

Investigative Commissions

CLAIM: "The reason why we gave it time is because we didn't want it to be hurried... it's important that this investigation take its time."

FACT: OTHER COMMISSIONS SHOW THAT THE REPORT IS BEING DELAYED FOR POLITICS. Regardless of upcoming Parliamentary elections, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has set up a similar commission to investigate intelligence that will report by July. Additionally, in 1983 after the terrorist attack on U.S. troops in Beirut, a commission was appointed and completed its report within 2 months.

CLAIM: "We have given extraordinary cooperation with Chairmen Kean and Hamilton."

FACT: WHITE HOUSE HAS STONEWALLED THE 9/11 COMMISSION. According to the Baltimore Sun, President Bush "opposed the outside inquiry" into September 11th. When Congress forced him to relent, Time Magazine reported he tried to choke its funding, noting, "the White House brushed off a request quietly made by 9-11 Commission Chairman Tom Kean" for adequate funding. Then, the NY Times reported, "President Bush declined to commit the White House to turning over highly classified intelligence reports to the independent federal commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, despite public threats of a subpoena from the bipartisan panel." And as the Akron Beacon Journal reported last week, "the 9/11 panel did not receive the speedy cooperation it expected. In a preliminary report last summer, the panel's co-chairmen, Thomas Kean, a Republican and former governor of New Jersey, and Lee Hamilton, a Democrat and former congressman from Indiana, complained about lengthy delays in gaining access to critical documents, federal employees and administration officials. They warned the lack of cooperation would prove damaging, ensuring that a full investigation would take that much longer to complete, if at all."

Economy/Budgetary Priorities

CLAIM: "How about the fact that we are now increasing jobs or the fact that unemployment is now down to 5.6 percent? There was a winter recession and unemployment went up, and now it's heading in the right direction."

FACT: THE JOB MARKET CONTINUES TO STAGNATE. Since President Bush's first tax cut in March 2001, the economy has shed more than 2 million jobs. He will be the first president since Herbert Hoover to end his term with a net job loss record. Additionally, the White House Counsel of Economic Advisors pledged that the President's "jobs and growth" package would create 1,836,000 new jobs by the end of 2003 as part of its pledge to create 5.5 million new jobs by 2004. But the economy added 221,000 jobs since the last tax cut went into effect, meaning the White House has fallen 1,615,000 jobs short of their mark.

CLAIM: "There is good momentum when it comes to the creation of new jobs."

FACT: STATISTICS SHOW THERE IS NOT GOOD JOB MOMENTUM. In the last two months we've seen an average of 73,000 private sector jobs created. At this pace, we wouldn't see a new net job created until May 2007. Even beyond the recession and 9/11, just looking at the recovery since November 2001, the current pace of job growth puts us on track to have the worst jobs recovery since the Great Depression.

CLAIM: "But what the people must understand is that instead of wondering what to do, I acted, and I acted by cutting the taxes on individuals and small businesses, primarily. And that, itself, has led to this recovery."

FACT: BUSH TAX CUTS HAD LITTLE EFFECT ON SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS. The Bush tax cuts had little effect on small business owners. Under the first tax cut, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports, small business owners "would be far more likely to receive no tax reduction whatsoever from the Administration's tax package than to benefit" because only 3.7% of small business owners are affected by the top tax rate cuts that were the bulk of the plan. Under the 2003 tax cut, the Urban Institute-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimates "nearly four out of every five tax filers (79%) with small business income would receive less than the amount" while "52% of people with small business returns would get $500 or less."

CLAIM: "The budget I just proposed to the Congress cuts the deficit in half in five years."

FACT: WHITE HOUSE ESTIMATES OMIT INEVITABLE COSTS. The President's proposal to cut the deficit in half deliberately "omits a number of likely costs" such as the continued cost of Iraq and its own defense spending plans. All told, he is proposing roughly $3 trillion in new tax cuts and spending, including $1 trillion to make his tax cuts permanent, $70 billion for the Alternative Minimum Tax, and $50 billion more for war in Iraq. The result is that the deficit is predicted to be "in the range of $500 billion in 2009" – not even near half of what it currently is.

CLAIM: "The economic stimulus plan that I passed is making a big difference."

FACT: STUDY SHOWS TAX CUTS BARELY MADE A DENT. A study by Economy.com attributes only 0.9 percent out of the total 7.2 percent annualized growth in the third quarter to the 2003 tax cut. In other words, the Economy.com analysis suggests that the strength of the economy in the third quarter was not due primarily to the tax cut: Without the tax cut, growth would have still been an impressive 6.3 percent.

Personal Military Records

CLAIM: Russert – "Would you authorize the release of everything to settle this?" Bush – "Yes, absolutely. We did so in 2000 by the way."

FACT: RECORDS OFF-LIMITS. On 5/23/2000, the Boston Globe reported, "[A]s Bush has risen in public life over the last several years, Texas military officials have put many of his records off-limits and heavily redacted many other pages."

CLAIM: "I did show up in Alabama."

FACT: UNIT COMMANDER DOESN'T BELIEVE HE SHOWED UP FOR DUTY. The Boston Globe reports that Bush's assigned unit commander, William Turnipseed, and his administrative officer, Kenneth K. Lott, do not believe that Bush reported. In an interview Turnipseed said, "Had he reported in, I would have had some recall, and I do not. I had been in Texas, done my flight training there. If we had had a first lieutenant from Texas, I would have remembered."

The White House: A New Fight Over Secret 9/11 Docs

Feb. 16 issue

The White House is facing a new battle with the federal panel investigating 9/11. To mollify the panel chair, former governor Thomas Kean, President George W. Bush last week reversed course and agreed to a two-month extension that is supposed to ensure a final 9/11 report by July.

But that might not be enough. Commission sources tell NEWSWEEK that panel members are fed up with what one calls "maddening" restrictions by White House lawyers on their access to key documents. Unless the panel gets to see the docs, the report "will not withstand the laugh test," a commission official says. The panel is threatening to force a showdown soon—by voting to subpoena the White House.

The documents at the heart of the dispute are the so-called presidential daily briefs, or PDBs—the daily intelligence brief given to Bush by a senior intelligence official, usually the CIA director or his deputy. White House lawyers have guarded the documents as the "crown jewels" of executive privilege. But last year Kean and other commissioners complained they couldn't write their report without seeing exactly what Bush, and Bill Clinton before him, had been told about the threat of Al Qaeda.

The White House then agreed to a complex deal that would allow four panel officials to review the PDBs and then brief the full 10-member panel. But the arrangement hasn't stopped the wrangling. The four-member team asked to look at 360 PDBs dating back to 1998; White House counsel Alberto Gonzales permitted them to see just 24, arguing that only those that specifically mentioned possible domestic attacks or airplane hijackings were relevant. (One panel member was allowed to read all 360—but couldn't share the contents with colleagues.) The team was permitted to write brief summaries of the PDBs they did read. But White House lawyers objected to some of the wording. The bickering has meant the full panel has yet to be told anything about the PDBs—even while it was conducting interviews with top officials, like last Saturday's with national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice.

The restrictions are especially infuriating, one source notes, because at least some of the PDBs appear to have been selectively shared by the White House two years ago with author Bob Woodward for his sympathetic book "Bush at War." White House officials insist they are protecting the principle of confidential advice for the president and have given the panel "unprecedented" access to sensitive material. "We are doing everything we can to cooperate with the commission," a White House spokeswoman says.

Still, some commission officials see an element of politics. While the commission's work has uncovered no smoking gun, sources say, the cumulative impact of the intelligence documents and other material is damning—showing far more screw-ups by both Clinton and Bush officials than the public has yet to learn.

Donald Rumsfeld and John McCain share a good laugh about McCain's new claim that countries that opposed Gulf War II were just as wrong as America in their pre-war intelligence on Saddam's alleged WMD's.

France Denies All Allies' Iraq Intelligence Wrong

By Mark Trevelyan, Security Correspondent
Sat February 7, 2004 03:18 PM ET

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - France on Saturday denied a U.S. senator's charge that it and other Western allies were as wrong as America in their pre-war intelligence on Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons programs.

Senator John McCain told reporters at a global security conference: "It wasn't just an American intelligence failure, it was German, it was French, it was British, it was Israeli -- it was all intelligence failures, and we need to find out why that happened."

Asked about McCain's comments, French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said France had not reached the same conclusions as "the Anglo-Saxons" on the basis of available intelligence such as satellite photographs.

She said that was why Paris had argued against last year's U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and in favor of letting U.N. inspectors keep searching for the alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

"It's true that intelligence...has its limits. Knowing how to recognize its limits and find other means is the way to avoid committing mistakes," she told a news conference. [...]

A potent poison. A Senate mail room. Echoes of the unsolved anthrax attacks—with a dash of angry truckers

Monday, Feb. 16, 2004 Issue

After anthrax-tainted letters began showing up in the wake of 9/11, authorities quickly suggested that this was probably a case of homegrown terrorism rather than Round 2 of al-Qaeda's assault on the U.S. The likely perpetrator, many still believe, was a malevolent nerd with chemistry-lab expertise and a grudge against the government. But when traces of the biological toxin ricin showed up in Senator Bill Frist's mail room last week, the FBI and other agencies declared there was no evidence pointing to either a foreign culprit or a mad scientist. One possibility under examination: a good ole boy who knows his way around 18-wheelers, weigh stations and CB radios. [...]

...[I]nvestigators tell TIME that the powder found in Frist's mail room was mostly paper dust, with traces of ricin so minute, they can't even be evaluated for particle size or purity. No envelope or note has been found, and no other piece of mail from the Senate has even a trace of ricin on it. Neither do any door sills, doorknobs, railings or surfaces anywhere in the building. Same goes for air filters, which should catch floating particles.

That leads to a couple of theories. Perhaps an envelope in Frist's mail room contained a letter that was forwarded to the DOT, where Fallen Angel's grudge is aimed. Or maybe the letter was simply sent by someone who had previously handled ricin. "Let's say he didn't send us any product," says an investigator. "He's just sloppy. It's on his fingers, on his hands, or he's using the same envelopes, same paper. That may be why we don't have anything." [...]

Comment: The other possible explanation is that the envelope of ricin, er, paper dust, was sent to promote fear and chaos by the same forces that brought you past hits such as "Saddam is 45 Minutes Away from Vaporizing the Entire US", and "Osama is Under Your Bed".

U.S. Says Files Seek Qaeda Aid in Iraq Conflict

February 9, 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 8 — American officials here have obtained a detailed proposal that they conclude was written by an operative in Iraq to senior leaders of Al Qaeda, asking for help to wage a "sectarian war" in Iraq in the next months.

The Americans say they believe that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian who has long been under scrutiny by the United States for suspected ties to Al Qaeda, wrote the undated 17-page document. Mr. Zarqawi is believed to be operating here in Iraq.

The document was made available to The New York Times on Sunday, with an accompanying translation made by the military. A reporter was allowed to see the Arabic and English versions and to write down large parts of the translation.

The memo says extremists are failing to enlist support inside the country, and have been unable to scare the Americans into leaving. It even laments Iraq's lack of mountains in which to take refuge. [...]

Still, a senior United States intelligence official in Washington said, "I know of no reason to believe the letter is bogus in any way." He said the letter was seized in a raid on a known Qaeda safe house in Baghdad, and did not pass through Iraqi groups that American intelligence officials have said in the past may have provided unreliable information. [...]

Comment: "I know of no reason to believe the letter is bogus in any way" actually means, "We have no idea if the letter is genuine or not". After the debacle regarding Iraq's WMD's, how can anyone with two neurons in contact with one another even consider believing anything that comes from the Bush administration or those who support it?

'Al-Qaida has nukes'

By Joseph Farah
2004 WorldNetDaily.com

WASHINGTON – The nuclear terrorism picture just got a lot scarier.

According to a report in the Arabic newspaper al-Hayat, Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network bought tactical nuclear weapons from Ukraine in 1998.

The report says the terrorists still have the "suitcase nuke" weapons and are storing them in safe places for possible use.

The newspaper said al-Qaida bought the weapons in suitcases in a deal arranged when Ukrainian scientists visited the Afghan city of Kandahar in 1998. The city was then a stronghold of the Taliban movement, which was allied with al-Qaida.

WorldNetDaily first broke the story of al-Qaida's purchase of suitcase nukes Oct. 3, 2002. Paul Williams, an FBI consultant on international terrorism said then bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network purchased 20 suitcase nuclear weapons from former KGB agents in 1998 for $30 million.

His book, "Al Qaeda: Brotherhood of Terror," also says this deal was one of at least three in the last decade in which al-Qaida purchased small nuclear weapons or weapons-grade nuclear uranium. [...]

Comment: Al-quaeda was established and funded by the CIA decades ago. The group was instructed to attempt to overthrow the Afghan government that was friendly to the Russians, thus provoking the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The hope was that Russia would become mired in a protracted guerilla war which it would ultimately loose, giving the US control of the region. Suffice to say, Bin-laden remains a CIA creation and asset. If he possesses "nukes" then he has been given permission to possess them.

"I hate to say this, but I saw WMD's in Iraq"

[...] "Israeli intelligence fed the US and the UK enough false information for Bush and Bliar to use and abuse to make their case for WAR with Iraq.They were the ones who supplied the lies about Uranium in Nigeria and the 45 minute deployment of WMDs from Baghdad and almost all the disinformation that we were told came from "credible" sources.The source was our best friends and only democracy in the region,Israel and the MoSSad.The mossad most likely suicided David Kelly the British scientist cause he knew the source of the misinformation was Israel."

"This is only begining. If we do not stop Bush and Blair, we can look forward to four more years of war minimum.Four more years of escalation to the nuclear level Israel wants.That is if by the time the four years are up they have not turned the US and the UK and Australia and all the states that are of the coalition of the bribed, into police states with martial law as the order of the day and we can almost smell Jeb Bushrailroded to the Whitelies House in 2008." [...]

"I hate to say this, but I saw WMD's in Iraq"

[...] WHAT? Everyone asked almost simultaneousy.One guest spilled his wine. Did you take pictures? Do you have footage? Come on you must be kidding! Even the US inspectors led by David Kay say havent found any WMD's to this date, how did you see WMDs and no one else did?

"I can swear to you I was there and I saw,and not just me but my brave and humble producer and film crew who were with me saw the WMD's too!"

SO WHERE WERE THEY? One skeptical guest who was on the other side of the table wanted to know...Were they so well hidden that only you saw them?Nobodys seen them!

"Maybe you didnt see them, but I saw them.I saw WMD's in Iraq.Everyone who was in Baghdad saw them and felt them.Weapons of Mass Destruction! They were falling out of the sky!"

"Do not let anyone tell you that those bombs we dropped on Iraq were not Weapons of Mass Destruction.It was more shocking and awesome than you saw on CNN.Real Weapons of Mass Destruction deing dropped from the sky from US planes and maybe Israeli planes that were so far up in the heavens we couldnt even see them.We could only hear and see WMD's falling out of the sky exploding all around us.They destroyed everything.We could only tremble in fear and hope they didnt bomb and kill us by mistake! If those were not WMD's then what do you call those weapons dropped from the skies that caused so much death and destruction?"

"Today the Iraqi head count is almost 10,000 dead innocent Iraqi civilians and over 500 American troops that would have rather stayed alive under Saddam than dead under Uncle Sam.Those human beings were either killed by Weapons of Mass Destruction or roadside bombs.In the aftermath there are thousands dead and destruction everywhere in Iraq and NO WMD's to be found anywhere!"

"Saddam had no WMD's. We did. Dont you think Saddam saw the massing of hundred thousand troops on his boarder in January and February of 2003? Tony Blair sexedup the report and said Saddam needed only 45 minutes to deploy his WMD's?" [...]

US to unveil broad Mideast democracy initiative

February 9, 2004

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States is negotiating with key European allies on a plan to promote democracy in the Middle East and South Asia.

The Washington Post, quoting US officials, said the proposal -- to be unveiled in June at the G-8 summit -- adapts a model used to press for freedoms in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

"It's a sweeping change in the way we approach the Middle East," a senior State Department official told Monday's edition of the Post.

"We hope to roll out some of the principles for reform in talks with the Europeans over the next few weeks, with specific ideas of how to support them."

The initiative would call for Arab and South Asian governments to adopt major political reforms, be held accountable on human rights -- particularly women's empowerment -- and introduce economic reforms, US and European officials told the daily.

As incentives for the targeted countries to cooperate, Western nations would offer to expand political engagement, increase aid, facilitate membership in the World Trade Organization and foster security arrangements, the Post said.

The approach is loosely modeled on the 1975 Helsinki accords signed by 35 nations, including the United States, the Soviet Union and almost all European countries.

Comment: So, have the Neocons discovered that "democracy" cannot be achieved with cruise missiles and tanks? Unlikely. This new approach seems more like an election year ploy. Then again, if the vote sees Kerry running against Bush, will much change if one Bonesman is replaced with another? Furthermore, will Sharon be inclined to let a slew of Arab countries become best buddies with America?

War against drugs in Afghanistan has been launched: official

Sun Feb 8, 3:08 PM ET

KABUL (AFP) - A covert operation in northeast Afghanistan in which a heroin laboratory was destroyed was only the beginning of the country's war against drugs, an official told an international conference which opened here.

More than 200 delegates have gathered in the Afghan capital to discuss the country's burgeoning narcotics industry, with officials hoping to raise about 300 million dollars to fight the drugs trade which they believe is fuelling terrorism. [...]

Comment: It appears that the drugs trade actually is fuelling terrorism, though not in the manner suggested in this article.


Afghanistan's own opium wars

By Sudha Ramachandran
Asia Times Online
Dec 9, 2003

BANGALORE - The spurt in violence in Afghanistan in recent months has generally been attributed to the resurgence of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. However, aid workers in Afghanistan are saying that it is warlords with connections to the production and trade of narcotics who are behind many of the attacks.

The sharp rise in killings, say aid workers, coincides with the autumn harvest of the poppy crop. Diane Johnston, country director for Mercy Corps, told Associated Press "security is worse in places where people are growing poppies". Late last month, the European Union's envoy in Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell, warned that laboratories for producing heroin that had been closed down by the Taliban were being set up again.

The heightened narcotics-related activity in Afghanistan is worrying not only because of the surge in flow of heroin into markets abroad, but also because of its implications for security in Afghanistan. "There is a palpable risk that Afghanistan will again turn into a failed state, this time in the hands of drug cartels and narco-terrorists," wrote Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the UN anti-narcotics program. If "energetic interdiction measures" are not undertaken now, the country's drug cancer will "metastasize into corruption, violence and terrorism", he pointed out. This year's bumper poppy crop in Afghanistan seems to be financing a fresh proliferation of weapons among the warlords. [...]

Comment: The US has been involved in poppy crops in Afghanistan for a long time now. The Taliban took power and stopped production, and the US had to do something to keep the funds flowing. A few excerpts from Cocaine Politics, by Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall, University of California Press, 1991:

[...] In country after country, from Mexico and Honduras to Panama and Peru, the CIA helped set up or consolidate intelligence agencies that became forces of repression, and whose intelligence connections to other countries greased the way for illicit drug shipments. [...]

[...] The drug traffic should be visualized, not as a horizontal line between producers and consumers, but as a triangle. At its apex sit governments whose civilian and military intelligence agencies recurringly afford defacto protection to drug kingpins beneath them. In the United States as elsewhere, this vertical dimension of protected trafficking has created windows of opportunity for importing narcotics by the ton.

Our conclusion remains that the first target of an effective drug strategy should be Washington itself, and specifically its own connections with corrupt, drug-linked forces in other parts of the world. We argued that Washington's covert operations overseas had been a major factor in generating changes in the overall pattern of drug flows into the United States, and cited the Vietnam-generated heroin epidemic of the 1960s and the Afghan-generated heroin epidemic of the 1980s as analogues of the central concern of this book: the explosion of cocaine trafficking through Central America in the Reagan years, made possible by the administration's covert operation to overthrow the Nicaraguan Sandinistas.

Recent indictments, congressional hearings, and news investigations into the shadowy Bank of Credit and Commerce International indicate that the parallel we drew between Afghanistan and Central America is even tighter than we dared suggest. In both regions, BCCI appears to have gone out of its way to attract drug money, facilitate arms transactions, and cater to the CIA, all the while enjoying an extraordinary, if still unexplained, degree of immunity from prosecution. [...]

Dead Man Tells Tale of Colombian Cocaine Culture

[...] But coca brings death as well as money, and, despite three years of the government's U.S.-funded "Plan Colombia" aimed at eradicating the trade, the flows of blood and cash show little sign of drying up. Peasants are accustomed to both and say they have no other way to earn a living anyway. [...]

Israel ranked third in world in postal drug smuggling

By Zohar Blumenkrantz
Haaretz Correspondent

Israel is third is the world in the smuggling of drugs through its postal system, a Knesset committee dealing with the fight against drugs revealed on Sunday. [...]

Palestinians consider veering off road map


A senior Palestinian official said today that Yasser Arafat’s government was considering declaring a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem if Israel tried to impose a boundary on the Palestinians.

Zalman Shoval, a senior aide to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned Israel could annex disputed territories in response.

The possibility of the declaration of a state was raised at a meeting of Palestinian leaders over the weekend, said Yasser Abed Rabbo, who is close to Arafat.

Abed Rabbo said many of those present supported the idea, but did not say whether Arafat was also in favour.

However, other participants said the proposal was only raised informally and was not part of the agenda.

Abed Rabbo insisted that declaring independence – which would mean walking away from the US-backed “road map” peace plan – was a serious option.

“We are not discussing this as an academic exercise,” Abed Rabbo told a news conference. “We are discussing this as a real possibility.”

A statehood declaration would come as a counter move to Sharon’s plan to “disengage” from the Palestinians, in the event efforts fail to revive peace talks in coming months.

Such Palestinian action would pre-empt final status talks, Shoval said.

“The (Palestinian) foregoing of the phase of final negotiations with Israel … would leave options for Israel like annexing certain territories, which is not the present intention of the government,” Shoval said.

Sharon’s disengagement plan was not meant to establish final borders, which would be decided together with the Palestinians, Shoval said.

Sharon has proposed redeploying Israeli troops, dismantling some settlements and imposing a boundary on the Palestinians.

In such an arrangement, the Palestinians would end up with far less territory than they seek for their state.

Comment: Perhaps Sharon's recent declaration that he might withdraw Israeli settlements is designed to force the Palestinian authority to declare satehood thereby "justifying" the retaliatory action by Israel of annexing Palestinian land. It has always been the intention of Israel to award as little land as possible to the Palestinians.

Israeli barrier hearing under way

Israel's Supreme Court has begun a hearing into the legality of the controversial West Bank barrier.

The case has been brought by Israeli human rights groups, which contend that the barrier is illegal because it is being built on occupied land.

It comes weeks before the World Court is due to consider if the barrier contravenes international law. On Sunday, Israeli officials said the barrier's route could be altered, amid concerns from the US and Palestinians.

The Israeli Government says the barrier is vital to stop Palestinian suicide bombers infiltrating Israel from the West Bank. Palestinians say it is a device to seize their land and thwart the creation of a Palestinian state.

[...] Israeli officials, meanwhile, have said some changes will be made to the barrier's route. The barrier is likely to be shortened by about 100km (62 miles) and plans to loop it around Jewish settlements are expected to be dropped.

US concessions

Zalman Shoval, an adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said the modifications would be presented to US officials due in Israel this week in the hope of winning their support.

"We want as much as possible to draw a line with the Americans," he said.

Qurei slams 'racist' Israeli wall

The Palestinian prime minister has urged the US and others to stop Israel from building its controversial separation barrier in the West Bank.

Ahmed Qurei was making his first site visit to part of the structure - a giant concrete wall that all but cuts off the Palestinian town of Qalqilya.

He called it a racist structure meant to prevent a future Palestinian state.

LBJ, Israel & the USS Liberty Massacre

by William Hughes
Media Monitor Network

"The White House knew within minutes of the USS Liberty attack, that the perpetrator was really Israel. On two separate occasions, the White House recalled aircraft rescue missions for the Liberty. On the last attempt, LBJ told Rear-Admiral Lawrence Geis of the Sixth Fleet, “I WILL NOT EMBARRASS OUR ALLY.” The Liberty was then left “dead in the water,” without any assistance for over 16 hours." [...]

Ayoon wa Azan (Max Boot’s Article)

Jihad Al Khazen Al-Hayat 2004/02/8

In its January/February issue, Foreign Policy magazine included a long article about the neo-conservatives, "Think Again: Neocons." The introduction read: "A cabal of neo-conservatives has hijacked the Bush administration's foreign policy and transformed the world's sole superpower into a unilateral monster. Say what? In truth, stories about the "neo-con ascendancy and the group's insidious intent to wage preemptive wars across the globe" have been much exaggerated. And by telling such tall tales, critics have twisted the neo-cons' identities and thinking on U.S. foreign policy into an unrecognizable caricature."

Who wrote this article? Max Boot, Olin senior fellow in national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, a council just as distinguished as Foreign Policy magazine, which is also published by a distinguished institution (The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace). However, Max Boot is not respectable at all; he is also a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard, a neo-conservative magazine that spreads the neo-cons' political and intellectual filthiness, which exposes Boot's affiliation.

Search for missing Russian presidential candidate


MOSCOW, February 9 (Itar-Tass) -The Moscow prosecutor’s office has cancelled a resolution of the prosecutor’s office of the Presnya District of Moscow on instituting criminal proceedings in connection with the disappearance of presidential candidate Ivan Rybkin. A representative of the information and public relations department of the Prosecutor-General’ s Office said that “the case was closed, because at present there are no grounds for instituting criminal proceedings, especially on the article involving premeditated murder.”

The prosecutor’s office and the police are jointly conducting a search for Rybkin after his wife submitted an application on his disappearance, the representative said.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Presnya District of Moscow has instituted criminal proceedings on the disappearance of presidential candidate Ivan Rybkin. Ivan Bozhko, prosecutor of the Central Administrative District of Moscow, told Itar-Tass on Monday that the decision on instituting criminal proceedings had been made after a careful examination. “We examined all places where Rybkin could stay, including his flat, his office and his summer cottage, interrogated all his relatives and acquaintances, and after that we decided to institute criminal proceedings,” Bozhko explained.

Criminal proceedings were instituted under Article 105 of the Penal Code (murder). “ It is common practice to institute criminal proceedings under Article 105 in such situations, because we have no information showing that he could be abducted,” Bozhko explained.

Food aid to North Korea dries up

More than six million North Koreans will go without emergency food aid until April, says the UN. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) says it has run out of food and blames the supply shortfall on a funding crisis.

For the next two months food rations will only be given to 100,000 people - mostly child-bearing women and children in hospitals and orphanages. A quarter of the population who normally receive food aid will have to survive winter without normal rations.

Schroeder, Chirac vow to pursue original plan on EU constitution

www.chinaview.cn 2004-02-09 22:47:18

BERLIN, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac on Monday pledged further efforts to secure a new European Union constitution while insisting on their demands for a new voting system.

Battle over Twin Towers insurance

A federal jury in America is to hear a case to decide whether the leaseholder of the World Trade Center can claim insurance for one attack or two.

Developer Larry Silverstein wants insurance firms to pay out for two attacks on 11 September, 2001. The insurance companies dispute this, saying the attacks on the twin towers amounted to a single event. Mr Silverstein would receive $7bn for two attacks, as opposed to $3bn if the attacks are classified as one.

Bush Defends Guard Duty After Democrat Attacks

By Adam Entous

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - [...] Democrats have long challenged Bush's record of attendance in the guard in 1972 when he transferred temporarily to an Alabama unit to work on a political campaign. "I put in my time, proudly so," Bush said. Underscoring White House concerns that it could become a campaign issue, Bush went on the offensive for the first time, saying, "What I don't like is when people say serving in the Guard ... may not be a true service." [...]

Comment From a Reader: Throughout the whole thing, the President was visibly nervous, and at times, especially while talking about Iraq, simply couldn't put two words together. It was pathetic, really was. He was a little more coherent while talking about the economy, but still quite shaken up.

About his AWOL, he did defend his position as the article said. He made one comment that was just weird, I am surprised no one jumped at it. When confronted with the fact that he didn't show up for his last 6 months of the 6-year service, he said: ' Well, I was going to the Harvard Business School, and I struck a deal with the government' WHAT?!?

The best part was at the end, when an interviewer asked the last question. He quoted Kerry from a while back, saying something along the lines of 'George W. Bush, yeah, he was 2 years behind me at Yale, and he wasn't a very bright kid'. Then the interviewer asked Bush: 'Did you know Kerry at Yale?' Bush says with a stone-like face: 'No'.

The interviewers presses: ' But the two of you were in Scull and Bones together, right?' Here, the camera pauses on Bush and you can see that his jaw practically dropped. He kind of laughed it off, but said 'yes, and this is so secret we can't talk about it'. Amazingly, this is EXACTLY what Kerry said when confronted with the same question sometimes ago: 'yes, and its so secret I can't talk about it'. One Bonesman against another, what a farce. Here is the transcript for the meet the press interview.

Greek socialists name Papandreou

By Richard Galpin
BBC Athens correspondent

Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou has been elected leader of the governing Socialist Party in an unprecedented election.

It follows the decision by the current prime minister, Costas Simitis, to step down next month. Mr Papandreou, who was the only candidate for the leadership, received just over a million votes from party members and supporters. Mr Papandreou will lead the party into an election in just four weeks' time.

Police: Shots Hit Two More Ohio Vehicles

By ANITA CHANG, Associated Press Writer
Sun Feb 8, 5:53 PM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A van and a Mercedes were shot minutes apart on an interstate Sunday in a region where a series of 21 sniper shootings have occurred, investigators said. [...]

US anti-spam law fails to bite

US legislation designed to stem the tide of junk e-mails has had little impact on spam, say experts.

US e-mail filtering firm Postini said the Can-Spam Act had only made a slight dent in the amount of unwanted mail.

It found spam accounted for 79% of all e-mails it processed in January, down from 80% in December 2003.

Moscow Metro

Alexander Kosorukov, a student, placing his scarf on a makeshift memorial at Avtozavodskaya metro on Sunday. He said he now wants to join the army to help fight terror.

Security Is Raised in the Bustling Metro

The Moscow Times

Interior Ministry troops patrolling a train at Avtozavodskaya metro on Saturday. Security has been increased since Friday's blast.

Amid heightened security, service was fully restored on the Moscow metro less than eight hours after Friday's blast.

Trains rushed past the site of the blast, between the Paveletskaya and Avtozavodskaya stations, at increased speed, in what local media suggested was an attempt to prevent passengers from seeing traces of devastation in the tunnel. But passengers could still glimpse remains of victims' clothes scattered in the darkened tunnel, local media reported.

Putin Says Moscow Will Not Negotiate

By Simon Saradzhyan
Staff Writer

President Vladimir Putin, in accusing Chechen rebels of staging the metro bombing, defiantly reiterated Friday that he will never negotiate with "terrorists."

"Russia doesn't conduct negotiations with terrorists -- it destroys them," Putin said. He suggested that Friday's attack would be followed by new calls -- presumably from Chechen rebel envoys outside of Russia -- for talks.

"This would not be the first time that we have encountered a synchronization of crimes in Russia with calls from abroad for talks with terrorists," Putin said.

Nobody had claimed responsibility for the attack as of Sunday, and Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov has denied any involvement.

But this did not stop Putin from pointing the finger at Maskhadov.

"We know for certain that Maskhadov and his bandits are linked to this terrorism," Putin said.

Comment: Change a few words and you could be listening to George Bush. Remember when Bush remarked after his first meeting with Putin that he had seen Putin's soul? Like recognizes like.

Canadian government plans to expand overseas spy service

www.chinaview.cn 2004-02-09 01:50:48

OTTAWA, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin has said that his government wants to expand Canada's spy operations overseas, local press reported Sunday.

We referred to the below article a few days ago. Today we post it in it's entirety to show that the US government is well aware of the truth of the situation on our planet at moment, yet will continue to do whatever it can to ensure that the pertinent details remain out of the public domain.

Japan Bans U.S. Chicken Imports After Flu Outbreak

Feb 8, 6:20 AM (ET)

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan has banned chicken imports from the United States following the discovery of bird flu in Delaware, the latest concern in a country heavily dependent on imports for its food needs. [...]

Comment: Slowly but surely, the US is apparently being cut off from the rest of the world in every conceivable way.

Sluggish Job Growth May Threaten Recovery

By Andrea Hopkins
Sun Feb 8,11:33 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Another month of disappointing job growth in America has sown a seed of worry among analysts that the fragile economic rebound may not be strong enough to last.

For months now, economists have been forecasting an improvement in employment. Each month, they've been disappointed, and the news from January was no different. [...]

The Pentagon's Weather Nightmare

The climate could change radically, and fast. That would be the mother of all national security issues.

By David Stipp

Global warming may be bad news for future generations, but let's face it, most of us spend as little time worrying about it as we did about al Qaeda before 9/11. Like the terrorists, though, the seemingly remote climate risk may hit home sooner and harder than we ever imagined. In fact, the prospect has become so real that the Pentagon's strategic planners are grappling with it.

The threat that has riveted their attention is this: Global warming, rather than causing gradual, centuries-spanning change, may be pushing the climate to a tipping point. Growing evidence suggests the ocean-atmosphere system that controls the world's climate can lurch from one state to another in less than a decade—like a canoe that's gradually tilted until suddenly it flips over. Scientists don't know how close the system is to a critical threshold. But abrupt climate change may well occur in the not-too-distant future. If it does, the need to rapidly adapt may overwhelm many societies—thereby upsetting the geopolitical balance of power.

Though triggered by warming, such change would probably cause cooling in the Northern Hemisphere, leading to longer, harsher winters in much of the U.S. and Europe. Worse, it would cause massive droughts, turning farmland to dust bowls and forests to ashes. Picture last fall's California wildfires as a regular thing. Or imagine similar disasters destabilizing nuclear powers such as Pakistan or Russia—it's easy to see why the Pentagon has become interested in abrupt climate change.

Climate researchers began getting seriously concerned about it a decade ago, after studying temperature indicators embedded in ancient layers of Arctic ice. The data show that a number of dramatic shifts in average temperature took place in the past with shocking speed—in some cases, just a few years.

The case for angst was buttressed by a theory regarded as the most likely explanation for the abrupt changes. The eastern U.S. and northern Europe, it seems, are warmed by a huge Atlantic Ocean current that flows north from the tropics—that's why Britain, at Labrador's latitude, is relatively temperate. Pumping out warm, moist air, this "great conveyor" current gets cooler and denser as it moves north. That causes the current to sink in the North Atlantic, where it heads south again in the ocean depths. The sinking process draws more water from the south, keeping the roughly circular current on the go.

But when the climate warms, according to the theory, fresh water from melting Arctic glaciers flows into the North Atlantic, lowering the current's salinity—and its density and tendency to sink. A warmer climate also increases rainfall and runoff into the current, further lowering its saltiness. As a result, the conveyor loses its main motive force and can rapidly collapse, turning off the huge heat pump and altering the climate over much of the Northern Hemisphere. [...]

Shanghai mulls building dam to ward off rising sea levels

SHANGHAI (AFP) - Alarm over rising sea levels and subsidence in China's largest city Shanghai has prompted officials to consider building a dam on its main river, the Huangpu, state press reported. [...]

Over the years the rising water levels of the Huangpu, blamed on rising sea levels due to global warming, and subsidence has resulted in the building of hundreds of kilometres (miles) of flood walls.

Since 2000, 20 millimetres (almost one inch) of the city's coastline has disappeared, with the rise totaling 60 millimetres (2.4 inches) since the 1970s. [...]

Meteorite sparks fears of boat fire

A meteorite may have been the cause of bright light spotted out to sea off the coast of North Otago, which sparked fears a boat was on fire late last night.

At 10.45pm, marine radio advised boat owners a bright orange light had been spotted off the coast of Kakanui, after a witness reported seeing what looked like a boat on fire several kilometres out to sea.

Inspector Warren Kemp, of the Southern Communications Centre, said the light, which was not a flare, was likely to have been caused by a meteorite entering the atmosphere.

"We get reports of this kind of thing from all over New Zealand," he said.

5.0 Earthquake near Yellowstone goes unreported by US Geological Survey

It appears that the Europeans are more interested in US earthquakes than the Americans themselves. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre reported the 5.0 magnitude quake in the region of Yellowstone national park on February 6th, yet their US counterparts did not see fit to even give it a mention.

For quakewatchers any seismic activity in or near Yellowstone is particularly interesting given that the park houses a Supervolcano that is reportedly just waiting to explode. Is this more evidence that the US government is determined to maintain control, no matter what the cost?

Comment: More Yellowstone scares. Right now, there are is just not enough information to make a case if there is a danger in Yellowstone. We will even make the case there is outright fear mongering going on right now. A site preaching the return of Planet X really stoked the flames of fear, saying that that this planet's orbit now approaching us was going to affect the earth in adverse ways, such as waking up the Yellowstone super volcano. For more of our position on what we consider nonsense, see: Will the World End on Thursday? and Has Nibiru/Planet X Been Sighted? (Interesting that fear mongering sites have so few attacks, yet those that advocate analysis and reason have so much more than their fair share). You can see that there are mildly conflicting reports on our Super Volcano page, but for the moment there is not really enough information to make a case that it will blow any time soon. And we pay attention. There may be danger from outgassing as we have discussed several days ago here on these pages, but even so, the Yellowstone area is not heavily populated.

It appears that that the propaganda and fear mongering ante have been recently upped: More Evidence of Yellowstone Cover-Up. Who strides in and makes an appearance? None other than master propagandist Tom Bearden, with talk of scalar weapons and Russians. A great distraction from the real terrorists roaming loose, and exacting a deadly toll on the planet. No more Osama under the bed since it has been announced he will be caught soon. Now it is Russians with Scalar weapons. One would think that not reporting one of the dozen earthquakes that occur every day was a major coup for the "bad guys". Please see Arkadiusz Jadczyk's Critical Notes on Bearden and Hoagland to see what these guys are really about.

Light Earthquake Shakes Bulgaria's Southwest



Supernatural schooling

Schools in northern Thailand are promoting belief in "ancestor ghosts" in order to discourage children from taking drugs and engaging in premarital sex.

Under a pilot scheme introduced 18 months ago in Lampang province, 560 kilometres north of Bangkok, educators hope to revive an ancient system of ghost worship that has faded over the past 50 years.

"Before we introduced the ghost system, the generation gap was very wide," The Nation newspaper quoted Lampang ghost expert Adul Dunagdeethaweerat as saying.

"Old people were unable to teach the younger generation, who thought they were much more clever because of their formal education.

"Since we reintroduced the ancestor ghost tradition, the gap has closed significantly. Families have grown closer together. They find they can talk more easily about each other's problems and help each other solve them."

By instilling a fear of retribution by the ghosts of dead ancestors, he said, children tend to follow rules such as "no drugs" and "no sex before marriage".

Adul said teaching about ghosts in schools, including holding ceremonies to apologise to angry ghosts, had initially encountered some resistance from student and teachers.

"At first teachers opposed the idea but later, after they opened their hearts to learn about this important tradition, they became fully supportive," he said. "Now they also assign their children to learn about it and practice it."

Man 'haunted to confess'

09/02/2004 12:11  - (SA)   Riot Hlatshwayo Nelspruit - A killer who surrendered to police after claiming he was being haunted by his victim's ghosts, has been jailed. John Nkuna, 19, of Tsuvulani village outside Thulamahashe in Limpopo will spend 15 years behind bars for dousing Bob Ruel Baloyi, 28, in 15 litres of petrol and setting him alight. [...]

Baloyi's charred remains were found by a cattle herder who alerted the police. Nkuna was arrested with two others, Lucky Ngobeni, 23, and a 16-year-old minor.Ngobeni was found not guilty because the state had insufficient evidence against him, while charges were withdrawn against the teenager last year.

Nkuna, a student at Orhovelani high school in Thulamahashe, had initially fled to Hillbrow to try escape the Baloyi's alleged ghost but later shocked the Baloyi family when he approached them with information that he was involved in the murder.

He told the family and later confessed to a magistrate that he heard Baloyi's eerie voice every night saying "Just tell my family that you are the one who murdered me and you'll start sleeping in peace, or you'll follow me."

Ex-astronaut Ed Mitchell and his Awakening

By Eliot Kleinberg
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 8, 2004

Somewhere in deep space, Ed Mitchell experienced a cosmic awakening that changed his life. "I got to look out the window a lot," he recalled about his return trip from the moon 33 years ago this week. "I had a powerful insight looking at the heavens. Suddenly, it became damn personal."

Since then, he has founded an institute to study the unexplained, has written two books and keeps busy on the lecture circuit. He asserts that very many people are like him: questioning, challenging, keeping an open mind about the unexplained. This is fact about Edgar Dean Mitchell. He has a doctorate.

He served 20 years in the Navy. He helped rescue the crippled Apollo 13 in 1970. And on Feb. 5, 1971, he became the sixth man to walk on the moon. While many of his fellow 1960s "right stuff" astronauts lead quiet, sometimes reclusive lives, Mitchell, 73, stays in the public eye. But he fiercely protects his home life on a spread hidden among the nurseries west of Lantana, scattered with pine trees and boasting its own corral and pond. Developers have come knocking, but he's not interested. [...]

A revelation in space Mitchell and Alan Shepard spent 33 1/2 hours on the moon. Shepherd hit the famous golf shot. Mitchell threw a javelin, which got less press. His crewmates and NASA superiors didn't know that Mitchell had made secret arrangements to conduct space experiments on extrasensory perception, the ability to send and receive thoughts. "I was well aware as far as science was concerned this was not mainstream," he said. Four times on the flight, he focused on sets of numbers.

He'd alerted colleagues when he would be sending those thoughts. But the mission was delayed by 40 minutes, so each experiment occurred 40 minutes after it was supposed to. He found out later he'd been successful 35 of 400 times. He said that's too many to attribute to chance. After his return, one of the participants leaked the tests to the press. "I didn't expect it to hit the news the way it did," he said.

But it was another experience he'd had during his return voyage that changed his life. Mitchell wrote about it in his 1996 memoir, The Way of the Explorer: "What I experienced during that three-day trip home was nothing short of an overwhelming sense of universal connectedness. I actually felt what has been described as an ecstacy of unity." Mitchell wrote that he felt "a sense that our presence as space travelers, and the existence of the universe itself, was not accidental, but that there was an intelligent process at work. I perceived the universe as in some way conscious."

A year and a half later, in 1972, Mitchell left NASA and the Navy. The Apollo program was done, the shuttle was a decade away and "I didn't want to fly a desk," he said. The more he thought about the epiphany he'd had in space, the more he felt he had to do something with it. "I had to find out. What's it all about? It led me to think: What we in science are modeling is incomplete and possibly flawed. Let's go find out."

He began researching mystical literature, including that of the Hindu and Buddhist religions. There, he came across samadhi. The Sanskrit word refers to a state of consciousness and total unity; an individualism but also a oneness. He found what he had experienced is discussed in virtually every culture and religion. Mitchell argues that ESP, clairvoyance -- getting thoughts from nature -- and other supposedly supernatural feats are within the capabilities of every person.

"It would appear most of the so-called mystical and spiritual experiences these people have been having forever are part of the quantum properties of every living organism," he said. So in January 1973 he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California (noetic is from the Greek word for mind).

The nonprofit organization, which numbers among its members scientists, philosophers and religious scholars, explores the scientific foundations of psychic and spiritual events. He still serves as an adviser and sits on its board of directors. His goal was to take such concepts out of the realm of the far-out and "bring them into scientific perspective."

Comment: For fun, Check out the article on Rense regarding NASA: SPACE - The Final Frontier Without Truth?

Unlocking The Secrets Of The Universe: Rosetta Lander Named Philae

With just 21 days to the launch of the European Space Agency's Rosetta comet mission, the spacecraft's lander has been named "Philae". Rosetta embarks on a 10-year journey to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from Kourou, French Guiana, on 26 February. This artist's impression shows the Rosetta lander anchored to the comet’s surface, it will work for a minimum mission target of 65 hours, but its operations may continue for many months.

Philae is the island in the river Nile on which an obelisk was found that had a bilingual inscription including the names of Cleopatra and Ptolemy in Egyptian hieroglyphs. This provided the French historian Jean-François Champollion with the final clues that enabled him to decipher the hieroglyphs of the Rosetta Stone and unlock the secrets of the civilisation of ancient Egypt. Just as the Philae Obelisk and the Rosetta Stone provided the keys to an ancient civilisation, the Philae lander and the Rosetta orbiter aim to unlock the mysteries of the oldest building blocks of our Solar System - comets [...]

New Study Shows How Black Holes Get Their 'Kicks'

When black holes collide, look out! An enormous burst of gravitational radiation results as they violently merge into one massive black hole. The "kick" that occurs during the collision could knock the black hole clear out of its galaxy. A new study describes the consequences of such an intergalactic collision. [...]

Virtually all galaxies are believed to contain supermassive black holes at their centers. [...]

Genetic killer to destroy species

SCIENTISTS have successfully bred a first-generation genetically modified terminator fish which could wipe out European carp, the scourge of the Murray River. [...]

On this Day in 1913

'..a number of luminous bodies were seen flying over Toronto, Canada. Thousands of persons saw them flying in V formations of three from Saskatchewan to the Bermudas. Observers remarked that some had luminous trails. They flew much too slowly to be taken for meteors. Others noticed "lights" flying at their heads, sterns or sides.' ( JGuieu )...From the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada ( Nov./Dec.1913 ) - 'A strange spectacle was seen in Canada, the U.S.A., at sea, and in Bermuda...

A luminous body was seen, with a long tail attached to it. The body grew rapidly larger. Observers differ whether this body was single, or in three or four parts, with a tail to each. The group, or complex structure, moved with a peculiar, majestic deliberation. It disappeared in the distance, and another group emerged from its place of origin. Onward they moved, at the same deliberate pace, in twos, threes, or fours. A third group, or structure followed.' [ Professor Chant, Toronto ] 'There were probably 30 or 32 bodies, and the peculiar thing... was their moving in threes or fours, abreast of each other, and so perfect with their lining up that you would have thought it was an aerial fleet manoeuvring after rigid drilling..' [Source: V FORMATIONS]

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